The Referendum on Smacking In New Zealand:

With the referendum on smacking at a go and media reporting rather one sided in favor of the so called YES vote. The Vote NO site gives you the other side of the story. The site is understood to be an initiative of Family First, and appears to be supported by the For the Sake of Our Children Trust, FIANZ, the Pasefika Trust, the Fact and Family Trust, the Sensible Sentencing Trust, Unity for Liberty, Focus on the Family, Cross Power and Family Life NZ.

The FAQ page consists of highly condensed yet to the point information in relation to the issues at hand: is the law working, prevention v correction, did this law help stopping child abuse, smacking and minor acts of physical discipline and more. So for those that want to hear the other side of the story as well I recommend you check the site out.

I do recommend you read the pamphlets with real life cases resulting from this law either here >>> or the case descriptions on the Family First website.

In addition to the site itself, you could have a look at the blog, follow this site on twitter or join their facebook group.

Also check out The Yes Vote Fail site for a slightly lighter approach, where I found the videos below.

More on smacking referendum: PM warned

ACT Party leader Rodney Hide has warned Prime Minister John Key of a public backlash if the government ignores the result of the controversial smacking referendum.

Snubbing the referendum result sends a message that politicians know what’s best for the people and that the government is running a “nanny state”, Hide wrote in a letter delivered to Key’s office on Friday.

In the sidebar it states that: John Key has said the law will not be changed back unless it can be shown that good parents are being prosecuted for light smacking.

If he really said that than I would be disappointed as apparently even the Prime Minister does not know the law. The matters are formulated straight forward in that a correctional smack is a criminal offense. The law does not make this distinction and regardless of how you look at it: well willing parents that want to have even the “light smack” as part of their parental toolbox will need to consider whether or not they are willing to commit a criminal offense.

Besides that, WHO is appointed to determine whether or not a smack is to be considered a light correctional smack that does not justify prosecution or falls within the boundaries of prosecution required? There are no clear guidelines there and personal opinion may well start playing a role in that decision.

In all democratic fairness, the provision as standing in Section 59 should not have been there in the first place. I would have to agree with Mr Hide here.

Deceptive, Polarising Media Practices in New Zealand.

A referendum on whether or not smacking as part of the parental correction options should be a criminal offense or not. In 2007, public opinion already seemed to be against making a correctional smack an offense but despite of that the act was pushed through.

The media seems at least in my opinion very good at making it easy form people to ensure them that they get the “right vote” on your form. Personally I am appalled by how the matter has been presented by the media; back than and again more recently.

Just so you understand: if you are silly enough to vote “no” you will be part of the legion of ‘smack happy’ people. Let’s be clear, the questions and matters subject to a referendum are of an entirely different nature.

The question is not whether or not parents should be allowed to give their child a correctional smack if and when they see that need BUT whether or not a correctional smack by a parent should be considered a Criminal Offense.

These are two entirely different matters as I could imagine myself being AGAINST any form of correctional smacking by a parent BUT at the same time I could be AGAINST making a correctional smack by a parent a criminal offense.

The first deals with a personal vision on parenting, the second deals with a vision or perspective on criminal law and a perspective on how far a state should be allowed to interfere in the private lives of our citizens.

But that is not what the media is making us believe. Not at all, you are either for smacking or against it. It is not so hard to understand how this could happen. It is all about presentation, marketing of an issue and marketing an issue is what the boys and girls at Labour and Greens have always been good at, just like spitting dirt around. It is easy to be misled when someone like Sue Bradford ventilates opinions as could be read in the Waikato Times of 30 July 2009:

“For years, smacking was seen as a parent’s right, vital in the discipline of a child…

… However, Green Party MP Sue Bradford, who introduced the private member’s bill leading to the anti-smacking legislation, disagrees, saying the key point is that New Zealand has outlawed smacking for the purposes of correction.

She said laws like those in NSW or Britain gave parents permission to beat their children.

She said supporters of the “no” vote in the referendum wanted to “have a law which defines the level and nature of violence that it would be acceptable to use on our children.

“The implication is that in some ways it’s just fine to beat your child. If, after the referendum, the National Government changed the law back and defined the level and nature of violence that is OK, that would be such a retrograde step.””

See what I mean? From whether or not smacking is a parental right, we shift quickly to saying that is it just fine to beat your child. But what happened to the question in the middle? Even if the overwhelming majority of people find that a correctional smack is NOT a parental right: does that justify that such a smack is made a criminal offense? Were there really no other options? Is it really so that those that see a correctional smack as acceptable are of the opinion that it is alright to use “violence” against their children? I dare to say not at all, it is just that those that are of the opinion that a correctional smack could be part of the parental toolbox hardly ever get seem to get a chance to publicly discuss their views. The media seems hardly interested in their side of the story and instead pursue the anti-smacking position (the yes vote), until we all believe that that is the way to go. Thank God for Magazines like Investigate and reporters/authors like Ian Wishart.

So what we are actually looking at is a law that was pushed through despite serious questions about whether or not this was something that was backed by the people of New Zealand, parents that need to consider that they are actually committing a criminal offense when they actually use a correctional smack, an extra burden on an already overstretched law enforcement apparatus, a referendum that addresses only part of the relevant issues, a referendum, that is most likely not going to change anything anyway and politicians and media that obscure the issues at hand.

What are we actually voting for?


Somehow I see a parallel with the climate change/global warming debate.

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Waikato people smack law down

Waikato residents have given overwhelming support to allowing parents to smack their children.

Some 92 per cent of Waikato people who plan to vote in the current postal referendum voting papers went out yesterday are against smacking of children being a criminal offence, according to a telephone survey of 409 people in a Waikato Times-Versus telephone poll.

The poll was run this week on Tuesday and Wednesday. The results are a continuation of the high popularity for sanctioning smacking that has registered in national and regional polls for the past four years.

But the Government has already said it won’t change the two-year-old law, which Prime Minister John Key thinks is working well.

The Times poll showed 70 per cent of Waikato residents planned to vote in the referendum, with that rising as high at 78 per cent within Hamilton. Females (76 per cent) were also more likely to vote.

Residents were asked: “Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?” Just 8 per cent said yes.

Why am I not surprised? The support for smacking as part of parental corrections have always been there. It was typically a law that was pushed through by someone with very specific view on parenting.

Whatever your view: the key question of course is HOW FAR CAN A STATE INTERFERE IN FAMILY LIFE?

If I go from the first results, the Anti-smacking legislation is considered by the overwhelming majority as going too far. So that leaves us with the referendum: I can’t help but feeling that I need to vote because of the importance of the subject but at the same time that it is a useless exercise as nothing will change as a result of it, regardless of the outcome?
Is this not a lot of wasted money?

And, where can I find some clarity on how this law has been of influence not so much on Police involvement in parental matters but of CYFS involvement?
Anyone any suggestions or links, please let me know.

Posted via web from John Dierckx